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Hamas Presents Proposed Palestinian Cabinet

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

NPR's Linda Gradstein reports.

LINDA GRADSTEIN: One of the most prominent appointments is Mahmoud Zahar, as Foreign Minister. He's an English-speaking doctor who narrowly escaped an Israeli assassination attempt. Mohammed Wahidi, a Palestinian journalist in Gaza who has known Zahar for many years, says he's a hardliner.

MOHAMMED WAHIDI: He totally rejected the idea of the existence of Israel. He believes that Palestine is that historical land--and there is no existence under the sun for the, what he is calling the enemies entity, which is Israel.

GRADSTEIN: Government spokesman Ranan Gissin.

RANAN GISSIN: This government would be totally unaccepted to Israel and we would not deal with this government because it's a government that is actually, I would say, representing more than anything else, a proxy state of Iran--and calling for the destruction of the state of Israel, refusing to accept all previous agreements, and to renounce terrorism.

GRADSTEIN: Palestinian journalist Mohammed Wahidi said he spent most of yesterday waiting on long lines at bakeries trying to buy bread. He said some Palestinians say Israel is punishing the Palestinian people for voting for Hamas.

WAHIDI: I hear this from many Palestinians standing in the tube, saying thanks to Hamas. That means that, here we go, I mean, this is the beginning.

GRADSTEIN: Linda Gradstein, NPR News, Jerusalem. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Linda Gradstein
Linda Gradstein has been the Israel correspondent for NPR since 1990. She is a member of the team that received the Overseas Press Club award for her coverage of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the team that received Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism for her coverage of the Gulf War. Linda spent 1998-9 as a Knight Journalist Fellow at Stanford University.